Legislators emphasized that officials misrepresented the situation to first responders and survivors.

“It was Federal officials, the head of the EPA, the Bush administration at the time, which assured people that it was safe to return to work,” said Nadler. “[They said] it was safe to go to school, it was safe to work on the pile. When it wasn’t, when we knew it wasn’t.”

Rep. Maloney also asserted the need to care for those suffering from health effects caused by exposure.

“They told them that it was safe to work at the site,” said Maloney. “They went back to the site, and now many of them are sick and dying, and we have a responsibility to take care of them.”

The Never Forget the Heroes Act, passed on July 12 in a vote of 402 to 12, will next move to the Senate floor. If passed there, it will go to the president to be signed into law.

This bill proposes to extend compensation funds to the year 2090 for victims and their families who need financial support.

“This is my bill,” said Maloney. “I worked on it eighteen years; this is what I’m focused on. I’m not going to get involved with any other issue until this bill becomes law—that’s my priority.”

 

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